Earlier this month, I finally got the chance to experience what a staycation is. And I am only regretting why I didn't do this sooner! The official definition of a staycation is: "a vacation spent in one's home country rather than abroad, or one spent at home and involving day trips to local attractions." (I did spend a few holiday breaks in college on campus, but I wouldn't quite count my long weekends of dorm room chilling as staycations!)
I've spent a good deal of time this summer at City Lights Rooftop bar and Craft City Social pool and day club. Both venues are located at the neighboring Uptown Charlotte hotels Le Meridien and Sheraton Charlotte. I was so excited to finally have the chance to partner this month directly with Le Meridien to spend a night at their hotel. I couldn't wait to finally get the full guest experience after spending so much time there at City Lights! I couldn't think of a better place to stay at for my first staycation.
Uptown Charlotte is very easy to navigate, and small enough to do so on foot. The streets that make up Uptown are divided into four units, and called the Four Wards. Le Meridien is located at the far end of the Second Ward. This gives the hotel all of the benefits of an Uptown location, such as being in walking distance to most of the restaurants, museums, nightlife and other attractions. But since it lies just on the outskirts of the center city it gives the hotel rooms facing Uptown the most incredible views of the entire skyline! A true win-win in terms of location.
Since my 22nd birthday fell midweek this year on workday for me (and I was traveling for the weekends before and after it), I still hadn't had a chance to celebrate with some of my Charlotte girlfriends yet! So this weekend provided the perfect opportunity to do so. Two of my dear girlfriends from college, my senior year suitemate Caroline and my sorority sister Mary, and my blogger bestie/new Charlotte resident Cara. I knew that a night in Uptown would be the perfect time to catch up with these ladies. The older that I get, the best birthday presents seem to be quality time and memories made with sweet friends.
Cara, Mary and I checked into the hotel in the late afternoon on Saturday, and we spent a few hours catching up with each other and just enjoying the room and the amazing Uptown views that it provided!
(I was unfortunately suffering from a weekend-long migraine during the time while we were at the hotel, so while my friends popped some Prosecco, I popped open a water bottle. ;-) )
Uptown Charlotte has a variety of phenomenal restaurants. I don't get up to Uptown to eat nearly enough anymore now that I have graduated college and live in a different part of the city, so I was really excited to have a night where some of my favorite Uptown restaurants were all in walking distance! After much deliberation, the three of us decided on Red Ginger, which is what I believe to be the best Hibachi restaurant in all of Charlotte. The weather was beautiful so we decided to walk to dinner. On the way, we finally discovered the "carpet murals" that were painted recently on the sidewalks that border Charlotte's Light Rail! I had thought that these were found in South End, another nearby neighborhood, but it turns out that they're right in the heart of Uptown.
My friend Caroline joined us later in the evening, and then all four of us ended out Saturday night with a trip up to the top of Le Meridien, to take on the views of the skyline and enjoy drinks (or water in my case, as the nasty migraine still hadn't left! #ohwell) at City Lights Rooftop bar. If you're a regular blog reader then you know that City Lights was one of my favorite summer hang-out spots this year, and also the location that I did my birthday/blogiversary photoshoot in earlier this month! It is such a fun rooftop bar setting, and some of my favorite memories from this summer have been made there.
We slept in on Sunday morning, and took advantage of the 12 pm check out time at Le Meridien. All in all, I have to say that my first staycation was a huge success. Despite being less than thirty minutes away from where I live, it truly felt like I was traveling to a new and far-away destination for the night. The "trip" actually kind of brought back some precious memories of my two college visit tours in North Carolina and the Charlotte area from a few years ago!
If you have never done a staycation- do it. Round up your significant other, or your best friends, and book a night somewhere close to home. Play tourist in your home city! You will be amazed by how much joy it can bring you, and how refreshed you might feel. And if you're a Charlottean, make Le Meridien in Uptown your staycation destination!
This staycation experience weekend happened before the protests and riots in Uptown Charlotte that made national news at the end of September. As I hope to have conveyed through this post, Charlotte is normally a beautiful, safe and friendly city. Thank-you to all of you who kept Charlotte in your thoughts and prayers during the difficult time!
xoxo Miss ALK
Thank-you to Le Meridien for providing me with a complimentary's night's stay. All opinions are honest and my own. Thank-you for supporting the businesses that support Southern Belle in Training!